New Partner Class 2022

We are proud of the 2022 promoted class of 13 lawyers to the Haynes Boone partnership ranks. This partnership class is the most diverse in the firm’s history. Meet the new partners here and find out a bit more about their practice, their hobbies, and their devotion to the communities in which they live. 
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Meet the 2022 New Partner Class

Alvarenga Raquel

Raquel Alvarenga is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group in Haynes Boone’s Dallas office. She represents corporate clients in all manner of labor and employment matters, including advice and counseling, litigation, and internal investigations. A significant portion of Raquel’s practice focuses on advising corporate clients, entrepreneurs, and private equity firms and their portfolio companies on workforce issues in connection with corporate transactions. 

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: The best professional advice that I ever received comes from the example my parents and sisters set in immigrating to this country from El Salvador. They achieved the American Dream through their fearlessness, determination, and hard work and have always been a constant source of inspiration for me. I grew up in a bilingual, multicultural household that prioritized education and academic excellence and cultivated a deep love of learning and family connection.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: I would encourage young lawyers to focus on developing authentic connections with others and to be active listeners—careful listening is the cornerstone of effective business development. The ability to listen and ask thoughtful questions allows you to understand clients’ business and organizational culture which, in turn, allows you to give thoughtful legal advice.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?
A: Recruiting, retaining, and promoting diverse attorneys is a continuing challenge for the legal profession as a whole. As a member of the firm’s Hiring Committee, I am focused on the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, with the goal of helping Haynes Boone meet that critical challenge.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: In 2020, I, along with a small team of Haynes and Boone attorneys, had the pleasure of meeting with and advising Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s Ethics Reform Task Force and drafting portions of the task force’s report to Mayor Johnson concerning the creation of a strong culture of ethical compliance for elected and appointed City officials and City employees. In early December 2021, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved the implementation of the task force’s ethics reform recommendations.

I am also deeply committed to combatting food insecurity in Dallas. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Crossroads Community Services, a North Texas Food Bank partner and food pantry whose mission is to nourish Dallas’s low-income families and individuals by providing nutritious food and supportive education.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: My husband and I enjoy spending time with our close-knit Latin family, international travel, fine dining, cooking, and rescuing dogs.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: The summer after my first year of law school I externed with the Hon. Timothy S. Driscoll in the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. My summer externship gave me the opportunity to work closely with Judge Driscoll, a brilliant judge, and to observe different attorneys and their courtroom styles. That experience taught me the importance of having a strong courtroom presence.

Bruner Robert

Robert Bruner is a member of the Investment Management Practice Group in the firm’s Dallas office. His practice focuses on private equity and hedge fund formation, private equity investments, hedge fund investments, investment management agreements, and corporate compliance and governance. 

Carter Harris Jamie

Jamie Carter is a member of the Private Client and Estate Planning Practice Group in the firm’s Dallas office. Her areas of practice include wealth preservation and estate planning, estate and trust administration and taxation, and charitable organizations.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: Your attitude is just as important as your quality of your work.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Begin with those you know or knew and share your knowledge and experience and hone your elevator speech.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms? 
A: Increased competition and attracting and maintaining the best talent. 

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: Charities helping children facing adversity.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: When I am not at the office, I enjoy spending time with my three sons.

Costello Matt

Matt Costello is a member of the Labor and Employment practice group in the firm’s Orange County office. His practice includes employment litigation, client counseling, internal investigations, executive agreements, employment-law audit and compliance projects, and the employment aspects of corporate transactions. On the litigation front, he handles all facets of day-to-day case management in court, arbitration, and administrative agency employment matters.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: Never stop learning and show up early.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Grow your relationships with neighbors, even if they are older than you. Some of my earliest business came from my neighbors or referrals from my neighbors.

Cross-sell, meaning are there opportunities to do more work for the clients or referral sources you already have, including from other HB offices? For example, if the client doesn’t use your firm for HR matters, brainstorm with an employment law colleague (like me!) on ways that a person can be introduced to the client (e.g., a gratis Zoom call on RIFs).

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms? 
A: Staying relevant.  Emphasizing that you have a “good culture” no longer sets you apart because all firms tell job applicants that same thing.

Branching out. Sometimes law firms get so set in their ways that is difficult to “get with the times.” But part of standing out and being recognized in our industry stems for new, exciting, and risk-taking initiatives, like becoming more attune to health and wellness, emphasizing time off, dropping billable hour requirements, etc. 

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: Pro bono work with the Public Law Center, a pro bono law firm that provides access to justice for low-income residents in the greater Orange County community. I serve on their Board of Directors and have been working closely with the non-profit since my early years at the firm.  I have handled numerous matters with them. I am immensely proud of two pro bono cases on which I have worked for PLC clients.

First, I served as lead counsel in representing a military veteran seeking a discharge upgrade.  I prepared and argued his case before a five-member military tribunal in Washington D.C., but unfortunately the discharge upgrade was denied in a 3-2 decision at that initial stage. However, in a 5-0 decision, a new tribunal overturned the initial ruling on appeal and granted the client a fully honorable discharge. Through my continued advocacy, our client was later deemed 100% disabled due to mental illness suffered while serving in Afghanistan, which entitles him to $3,000 monthly for the rest of his life (among other benefits). In the client’s words, we “gave him a new life” and “he will continue to take full advantage of this opportunity and will never let [us] down.” An email highlighting the case went out to all donors and supporters of PLC in October 2020.

Second, I acted as the lead junior associate on a highly publicized case brought by low-income residents of motels against the City of Costa Mesa. The case stemmed from an ordinance that barred motels from renting a room longer than 30 days. Haynes Boone, with the support of PLC, challenged the ordinance on a variety of grounds, including housing discrimination, ultimately leading to a favorable settlement that included financial assistance to families residing in motels and affordable housing commitments from Costa Mesa. Ultimately, Haynes Boone was honored as PLC’s 2017 pro bono law firm of the year for its efforts on the Costa Mesa case and other pro bono efforts.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: Spending time outdoors with my family and Dodgers baseball.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: Tamara Devitt has been such an amazing mentor to me during my time at Haynes Boone.  I have learned so much from her about the practice of law, succeeding as a partner at the Firm, and how to grow a top-notch reputation as a preeminent employment litigator and counselor. Not only will I be there to handle overflow work from her practice, but I will collaborate with Tamara to map out a long-term plan for bringing in clients and positioning our Labor and Employment team as a brand name in the Orange County and greater California legal community.

Ferris Tiffany

Tiffany Ferris is a member of the Trademark and Advertising, Marketing, and Promotional Law practice groups in the firm’s Dallas office. She assists clients through all stages of their brand's lifecycle, including the selection and protection of brands, as well as the creation and defense of advertising and promotional programs. Tiffany also regularly appears before the National Advertising Division (NAD), representing clients in advertising-related disputes.

 

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?

A: Understand the difference between a mentor and a sponsor, and make sure you have one of each.” While a mentor is someone who advises, trains, and guides, a sponsor’s involvement goes further than that. A sponsor will champion you, take risks on your behalf, and use his or her power or standing to advance you. I have been fortunate enough to have a lot of excellent mentors and sponsors, all of whom who have been instrumental in my career.

 

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Stop thinking about it as “developing business” and “professionally networking.” Be active and engaged in your community. Join professional organizations. Be a kind and friendly person – talk to others, ask questions, and look for ways to serve. If you’ve laid the groundwork for becoming an excellent practitioner in your area; your network will call on you.

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?  

A: Challenges around diversity, equity, and inclusion issues are paramount. There are still massive inequalities across law firms in areas of race and gender, and generational diversity is becoming a greater challenge than anticipated.

 

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.

A: I serve on the Board of the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas (CCGD) and am fiercely passionate about music education for children. Research shows that children who learn music have stronger language development, increased IQ, better spatial-temporal skills, improved test scores, and more benefits. CCGD is dedicated to providing youth the opportunity to study and perform choral music at the highest level of excellence, and these youth represent the ethnic and economic diversity of the area.

 

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?

A: I love enjoying time outdoors with my rescue dogs, Sadie and Stuart. I’m also an avid football and Formula 1 racing fan, so I spend a lot of time yelling … I mean cheering … at my television!

 

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.

A: I’ve had a number of amazing mentors over the years, including Jeff Becker, a partner in the Trademark Group (and, actually, the person who founded the practice group years ago). When I was a midlevel associate, he started encouraging me to take a big picture, future-oriented view of my practice. He told me that I’d be his associate for a short number of years, but that I could be a partner for decades. He encouraged me to think beyond my current projects and to-do list and to really craft a practice that brings me joy.

Maria Hopper

Maria Hopper is a member of the Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity practices in the firm’s Dallas office. She is focused on mergers, acquisitions, venture capital/emerging companies/minority investments, and corporate compliance and governance. Maria is an active member of Haynes Boone's Women's Initiative Committee, the firm’s American Heart Association steering committee, and the firm’s Alumni Committee.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: Focus on the things you can control. The legal profession can be overwhelming at times, so focusing on items for which you can directly influence the outcome will help you become more efficient and confident.

 

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Business opportunities are in every relationship you build over the next few years, including relationships with other associates and partners within the firm (whether they eventually stay with the firm or make a career move). Always take the opportunity to know your colleagues and develop meaningful relationships with them.

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms? 
A: Retaining associates is one of the greatest challenges facing law firms, particularly because the legal industry is a highly competitive market and because of recent compensation changes within Big Law. Firms have to find creative ways to retain talent and continue to be able to address the recent growth in demand for legal work. Another challenge relates to remote work and implementing solutions to help lawyers maintain work-life balance and preserve workplace comradery and personal relationships.

 

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: As a member of the Firm’s American Heart Association Steering Committee, I have supported efforts to raise funds for lifesaving research and medical breakthroughs to prevent heart disease and stroke. I have also been involved with the firm’s Women’s Initiate Committee, which promotes leadership development of female attorneys and supports the firm’s efforts to retain female talent.  

 

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: I spend a significant time with friends and family and enjoy every possible opportunity to be with them. One recent post-COVID routine has been to travel and explore the various lakes in Texas with my family.

 

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: I’ve been blessed to have had incredible mentors during my career, so talking about only one would be a difficult task. Each of my mentors was instrumental in providing meaningful advice for how to tackle professional challenges and stay motivated. One mentor not only mentored me during my first two years at the firm (when he was also an attorney at the firm), but he has continued to give meaningful guidance, motivation, and support after going in-house. He has helped me explore career options, set professional goals, develop contacts, and identify resources and opportunities to improve.

 

Kapoor Mini

Mini Kapoor is a member of the Occupational Safety and Health and Litigation practice groups in the firm’s Houston office. Mini has handled OSHA matters in several states and has successfully defended clients in OSHA administrative trials. She has wide-ranging litigation experience in commercial, intellectual property, and labor and employment matters. Prior to her legal career, Mini was a faculty member at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where conducted federally funded research in cancer genetics.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?

A: You need to make your own path. There are people all around you who can be sources of guidance, but you have to find those sources. It’s up to you to create your own path to success.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?

A: As an initial matter, in my opinion to be successful as a lawyer, first and foremost, you have to be doing the work that you would like to do. I think it’s easier to do good work when you like what you are doing. So, if there is a certain type of legal work or area of legal work that you would like to do, it’s important to voice that desire. It’s important to let your mentors and supervisors know about that. And when you get that opportunity, go all out to give it all you got to forge your own path in that direction. Don’t be shy in asking for help, and take advantage of all resources around you in making your vision for the future come true.

As to business development and developing your network, you need to think about both internal and external network. You should be proactive about connecting with firm lawyers inside and outside your section. It’s important to write and speak about your work so that people know about your expertise at the firm. You will find that you will organically gain sponsors at the firm who will refer your work both internally and externally thus adding to your network. You should also stay connected with your lawyer and non-lawyer friends outside the firm and keep them informed about your own and the firm’s areas of expertise. When it comes to business development, remember to think big – do not limit efforts to avenues of new work that you yourself is capable of doing,

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?

Retaining legal talent. We spend a lot of time and resources recruiting smart people, and generally law firms are quite successful in that aspect. But that’s only part of the picture. The other part is retention of these lawyers. As to that, I think young lawyers are more likely to stay on with a firm if they see that the firm cares about their professional development. Of course, compensation plays a role in retention but not as much as the former factor. In my opinion, a key factor in retention is providing mentorship in a manner that gives young lawyers a candid forum where they can express their vision for the future and voice any concerns. Sufficient time spent by the firm in providing effective mentoring to junior lawyers can make a big improvement in retention.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply about.


Having spent substantial part of my early work life in science, I am very much connected with that part of my life and, care about giving back to that community. Over the years, I have presented to that community on legal topics of interest and counseled the entrepreneurial science community in the Houston area. In several instances, I have connected scientist entrepreneurs to the appropriate legal source relevant to their issues.

I am a big proponent of mentoring junior lawyers. I am pro-active about reaching out to junior lawyers in my section to connect with them, to know them, and to help them with any challenges that they may be facing. I strive to facilitate the opportunities they are seeking. I have counseled undergraduate students who may be contemplating a legal carrier.

I am active in diversity initiatives, have represented the firm in several such events, and have frequently counseled/mentored diverse students. I am an active member of the Leadership Counsel for Legal Diversity and have served there in multiple capacities.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?

A: I am family-oriented and love spending time with my family. I also like to swim, an interest shared by my son, who is a member of his high school swim team. I find long walks very relaxing, and try to do 8-10 miles a week.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.

A: I have been very fortunate in getting the opportunity to have two close mentors at the firm who are not only smart lawyers but also over the years have made consistent and conscious effort to create opportunities for my professional development. Michael Mazzone has been my supervisor since the time I was a summer associate at the firm. He has always looked out for opportunities for me to expand my legal experience and has trusted me with important aspects on matters. As an example, in 2017 he created the opportunity for me to argue a motion for summary judgment in federal court. Generally, federal courts do not allow oral argument on such a motion, but Michael was able to secure it for me under the judge’s young lawyer rule. It was a great experience for me, and we got a great result for the client in that matter (see Law.com article). On another occasion, Michael trusted me to handle cross examination of several witnesses at a jury trial. Likewise, Matt Deffebach has devoted considerable effort in creating professional development opportunities for me. He has consistently trusted me on critical OSHA matters for firm clients. Working with Matt, I have been able to serve as second chair on multiple OSHA trials. Additionally, Matt has created multiple opportunities to speak at client-facing events. Matt’s working style is smart and fun, something I hope to be able to incorporate in my own.

Both Michael and Matt are excellent and patient teachers, and it’s been a great privilege to have been able to work with them. Both of them have also been effective sponsors for me, and that has provided me great exposure both inside and outside the firm. I couldn’t have asked for better attorneys to work with.

Kreick Jennifer

Jennifer Kreick is a member of the Healthcare and Life Sciences practice group in the firm’s Dallas office. She delivers practical legal and business advice to healthcare clients in a variety of regulatory and transactional matters. Jennifer also serves as the firm's HIPAA Privacy Official. She is Board Certified in Health Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A:
“Your career is a marathon – be patient and prepared to weather the ups and downs.” Another attorney shared this advice early on in my career, and it’s been something I think about often, especially when things are challenging, like when I’m managing multiple deal closings and trying to make it to the ballet recital for my daughter. I focus on putting one foot in front of the other, and eventually I make it over the top and to a bit of breather on the other side!  

 

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Do more listening than talking and be authentic. Business development can feel daunting, but really it’s about learning about other people and their business and needs. Even if it’s not a need you can personally fulfill, you may know someone in your network who can or you can do something small that can help (like send an email, forward a relevant article, or put a list together). And don’t try to be anyone other than yourself. You may not feel like you fit the “lawyer” mold, but there’s not just one right way to be an attorney, and everyone brings different strengths to the table. Find yours and focus on ways you can use your strengths to help others. 

 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?
A: One of the biggest challenges is that the business of law is changing. Firms are getting more pressure to be innovative and creative with fee structures, remote work, alternative schedules, automated tools, etc. It’s an exciting time to practice law, and change brings opportunity. 

 

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply about.
A: I care deeply about issues of diversity and inclusion, including diversity in the legal profession, such as hiring, promoting, and retaining diverse and female attorneys. It’s important to me to support causes and programs that promote these goals, such as participating in mentoring programs for youth and law students.

 

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: I enjoy chasing after my 2.5-year-old, running when I can, and novice baking experiments.

 

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: I’ve been lucky to have many mentors throughout my career. One of my mentors really pushed me to see my work at the firm as my personal brand/business. He helped me set semi-annual professional goals that were specific and achievable, and that helped me focus on moving my practice forward. This was more formal than most of my mentoring relationships, but it was invaluable to me and something I’d like to pass on to others.


Mai Kim

Kim Mai  is a member of the Energy Practice Group in the firm’s Houston office. Her practice focuses on complex upstream and midstream oil and gas transactions, including financing, acquisitions and dispositions and hedging transactions.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: Show up and be prepared.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Become an expert in your field by attending as many industry events and luncheons as possible and never hesitate to pick up the phone to communicate directly with clients on deals. 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms? 
A: The biggest challenge continues to be developing and retaining talented attorneys to provide clients with high-quality legal services. We need to continue to foster and protect Haynes Boone’s team-oriented culture, which places a premium on investing in our attorneys and distinguishes us from our peer firms.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: I am a member of the Board of Directors for BPSOS-Houston, a non-profit organization that assists immigrant communities in the Houston area. BPSOS provides a range of important services like legal services for low-income families, educational services, and health awareness and prevention programs. As a first-generation immigrant, I am passionate about organizations that empower immigrant communities with the resources they need to help people realize the American dream like my family.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: I enjoy playing basketball and engaging in other sporting activities that allow me to use my height advantage, including wrestling with my 3-year-old son, who still has not managed to pin his mommy.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: I have been lucky enough to have many mentors in my group. Buddy Clark stands out, in particular, because of the many transactions we have worked on together through the years. Starting from when I was a summer clerk and continuing as I advanced in my career, he trusted me with his most important projects, from proofing his book to later allowing me to co-lead deals involving his biggest clients. Even with his wealth of experience, Buddy is a consummate student of our industry, enthusiastic about assisting our clients and, as a client recently noted, overwhelms counterparts with his knowledge and politeness. Working alongside him and the other attorneys in our group has been invaluable to my development and taught me how to be a leader in our group.

Kinne Manente

Kinne Manente is a member of the Finance practice in the firm’s Dallas office. She has experience in a variety of lending transactions, including representing agent banks and participant lenders in fund finance transactions, mortgage warehouse lending, middle market lending, and unsecured revolving and term loan facilities for real estate investment trusts. Her practice focuses on structuring, negotiating, and documenting multi-jurisdictional subscription-secured credit facilities. Kinne takes a practical and collegial approach to her work in order to achieve optimal results for her clients. She believes that building an effective working relationship with all parties to a transaction is the most effective means of securing her clients’ goals. 

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” Junior attorneys might be tempted to take a directive from someone more senior or a client and roll it into their documentation, even if it does not quite make sense to them. There is probably a good reason for the requested change, but sometimes digging a little deeper will reveal that something should not be altered or that other revisions are also needed. Asking questions to understand the logic behind the revision will help you learn. So, if something seems a little odd, question it and determine if any ripple effects need to be addressed.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Sometimes people think about business development as strictly bringing in new clients or new business. Building deeper relationships with current clients is just as, or arguably more, important. Your current clients have a built-in level of trust, but you need to continue to earn that trust and support their needs. If you can satisfy current clients, they will likely continue to bring you business and promote you among their peers. This can lead to new business based on your reputation or if your contacts move elsewhere.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?
A: One challenge facing law firms is continuing to meet and, in some cases, help set, timing expectations. For example, the banking industry continues to move faster and faster to satisfy continued capital demands. This can lead to a punishing pace for clients and their lawyers to meet deadlines. The shift to a remote working environment during the pandemic exacerbated this, as all parties felt their work and home lives collide. With deal structures becoming more complex, the time to document a facility should have arguably lengthened, rather than contracted. Law firms need to be conscientious of their staffing processes to try and balance the capacity of their attorneys while still meeting these timetables. In many cases, this can be achieved. In some instances, parties need to have expectations tempered on the front end to ensure that deadlines are set in a manner that will satisfy customers and allow clients and counsel to accomplish the necessary diligence and documentation.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: Advancing women’s rights, particularly in the workplace, has always been important to me. A lot of areas can use improvement, which means there are a host of ways to be engaged. This can range from providing assistance to victims of domestic abuse to helping women in disadvantaged groups take their first steps into the professional community. The legal community is not exempt from gender inequalities, either, and struggles to find a male/female equilibrium, particularly at more senior positions. The fact that this bias was not as evident in the Finance Section of Haynes Boone is part of what drew me to this group. When I was a summer associate, it was amazing to see the number of women (all but one of the associates within the Dallas office at the time were women) climbing through the ranks. It was clear that promoting female attorneys was an important goal at the firm. Many of those women are now partners. I am proud to help carry that mission forward and will continue to advocate for women, both within our firm and the community generally.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: My husband and I had our first child this year, so much of my time outside of work is spent with my son. At this point, it mostly means going to the park around the corner (weather permitting) or keeping him out of things around the house. Prior to that, we used to enjoy traveling a few times a year or picking up a good book. One of these days, we’re hopeful that some of our old hobbies can become part of our new phase of life. Until then, we’re enjoying this new adventure!

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: This question feels like an Oscar speech in the making where I would invariably leave someone off the list. To pick one mentor just isn’t feasible. Far too many people have helped guide me thus far in my career, and each has taught me something invaluable – from very detailed aspects of my work to overarching concepts and philosophies. Perhaps the best part about my mentors (and why I can’t choose just one) is that each of them is also an amazing friend. That is my favorite thing about being at this firm. I get to go to work every day with truly incredible people.

Muhammad Arsalan

Arsalan Muhammad is a member of the Restructuring Practice Group in the firm’s Houston office. His practice focuses on bankruptcy and restructurings, including related financings, acquisitions, and litigation. 

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: As a junior lawyer, I was always advised to speak up in meetings, as this was critical to the success of our team. As is the case with most younger lawyers, as the junior member of the team, I spent the most time understanding the nuances of the matters I was working on. By acting on the encouragement, I was often outspoken during meetings and even in the courtroom. This allowed me to gain the trust of my colleagues. It also gave clients confidence to reach out to me directly, even if I was only a first- or second-year lawyer.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: I would suggest that younger lawyers do their homework. For example, if you are attending an event, get the attendee list and search for individuals or firms that are attending. This not only provides a better understanding regarding the attendees you’ll be meeting, but also creates an opening for an interesting discussion during the event. Being prepared isn’t just for the courtroom; it also helps in more routine interactions.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms? 
A: Many successful law firms have difficulty being nimble and adjusting what they’re doing in the face of societal, cultural and generational shifts. This is understandable since it’s hard to change, especially while having success. Being in restructuring, however, I often see once-successful companies fail to adapt, resulting in eventually being outdated. Law firms that aren’t willing to lead may find themselves not being able to keep up, whether regarding technological requirements in their infrastructure, demographic shifts in both their own personnel and clients, or societal expectations from the public. This will especially be true in the new normal after the pandemic.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply.
A: What I’ve found most valuable is encouraging every professional organization I’m involved with to have a diverse range of views and experiences represented at every level, including the board, the membership, and speakers at events. Oftentimes, I have been the only visible minority in the room. While I may bring a different perspective, my perspective alone isn’t representative and certainly not sufficient. I think we should all strive to have more inclusive professional organizations, to ensure that we are able to represent the diversity of views, interests, and needs that exists in our membership and community.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: For some of us, one of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the ability to spend significant time with our families. I have been fortunate enough to take advantage of that. Collectively, we’ve enjoyed picking up new interests and hobbies. We, however, are very much looking forward to resuming travel.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: As I mentioned, the encouragement to speak up in meetings and in court has been incredibly helpful. Oftentimes, as a younger attorney you are the most informed, but either don’t know it, or don’t want to overstep. Everyone I have had the privilege to work with always encouraged me to contribute at every opportunity. Most importantly, they trusted my judgment. They have also made it clear that our job was to provide our clients with the most honest assessment after thoroughly understanding the matter, even if it presented further challenges. Amongst others, Charlie Beckham and Pat Hughes have not only been excellent examples to follow, but they have also been instrumental in providing me advice, guidance and support.

Smith Courtney

Courtney Smith is a member of the Finance practice in the firm’s New York office. She represents borrowers and lenders in a variety of commercial and corporate finance transactions. Courtney serves on the firm’s Board Advisory Committee and served on the Board of Directors for The Network for Peace through Dialogue from 2007 to 2016.

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: No coffee in the closing room (from the days of paper closings, and from someone who learned this the hard way). This has stuck with me, and I take it as more general guidance to anticipate obvious pitfalls and set up simple rules whenever possible to keep the operational aspects of a transaction running without a hitch. This frees up the team to focus on the substance of a deal.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Stay in touch with your friends from law school! It’s incredibly easy to lose contact as you move to different cities and get wrapped up in your work, but in addition to being an excellent support network as you start your career, your law school classmates will be your peers (and potentially clients or referral sources) for decades to come. I treasure my law school friendships; I graduated a decade ago, but to this day I am in touch with many of the friends I made as a 1L, and we give each other professional advice and support and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?
A: Law firms across the board need to make major strides to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive at every level, from pipeline mentoring programs and law school recruiting to equity partnership and firm leadership.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply about.
A: Food insecurity is an issue I care about deeply, and it’s a problem that has become especially critical during the pandemic. My mother has worked at a large regional food bank for many years, which has given me an up-close perspective on the magnitude of the problem and the importance of the work our food banks do. I’ve been so proud of my mom and her colleagues (truly essential workers during this time) and also of the great work HB has done in our partnership with Feeding America, both in terms of raising funds to support local food banks in our communities and in providing them with pro bono legal advice.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: I love live music. In normal times, I try to see one or two shows a month. I haven’t been able to do much of this in the past year, but two recent highlights for me were seeing Jason Isbell play an outdoor show on one of the piers in lower Manhattan on a gorgeous September night and seeing Brandi Carlile perform Joni Mitchell’s album Blue in its entirety at Carnegie Hall.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: I’ve been fortunate enough to have had several important mentors in my life, and the two things they all have in common is that they inspire by example and (despite being some of the busiest people I know) they are generous with their time. I can’t overstate the importance of simply building a connection with someone who is at the top of their profession, in a role you could see yourself someday having. I am grateful for the breakfasts, for the lunches, and for the many “walk and talk” phone calls I’ve had with my mentors over the years, for the nudges they’ve given me to take on more responsibility, and for the knowledge that there are a few amazing people in my corner. 

Wang Alan

Alan Wang is a member of the Intellectual Property and Patent Prosecution practices in the firm’s Dallas – North office. Alan focuses on patent-related practices, including patent non-infringement and invalidity analysis, patent portfolio evaluation and negotiation, patent preparation and prosecution, and patent post-grant proceedings. 

Q: What is the best professional advice that you have been given?
A: I have received many valuable pieces of professional advice in my career, including “don’t make assumptions.” Many misunderstandings, miscommunications, and faulty analyses stem from making wrong assumptions. For any given situation or problem, we want to investigate as fully as possible so that we can give informed opinions to clients or other lawyers we work with. Investigation can be in the form of our own research or asking someone with experiences. If we do have to make assumptions, we should inform the clients or the other lawyers of the assumptions.

Q: What are some tips you would give young lawyers about how to develop business and professionally network?
A: Create quality work product and maintain good relationship with existing clients. By doing that, you build a good reputation with the clients’ in-house counsel, who may in turn refer you to potential clients. Also, the in-house counsel may move to another company later. In such case, your good reputation will help you cultivate the other company as a new client.

Another tip is to utilize your social network – friends, classmates, former colleagues, and so on, and let them know that you are part of a large and capable law firm that can help them or their organizations resolve legal issues. You may emphasize your legal expertise, but also mention other Haynes Boone practice areas that your audience might be interested in. 

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges facing law firms?  
A: I think one of the biggest challenges is how to provide high-quality, yet cost-effective, legal services to clients. For my practice (patent prosecution), oftentimes, the patents we help obtain are a lifeline for our clients. It is understandable that clients demand high quality in our work product (plus, it is our ethical obligation to produce a high-quality work product). At the same time, legal fee budgets are also high priority, particularly among small businesses. Therefore, how to create a quality work product with reasonable legal fees is quite challenging and deserves some strategic thinking from practice leaders.

Q: Please identify some community issues/charitable causes that you care deeply about.
A: I care deeply about the environmental issues, such as global warming, pollution, etc. I think we all should do a better job recycling and promoting recycling. For example, the firm may encourage recycling by providing recycle bins for plastic bottles, empty cans, etc., in each of our offices.

Q: How do you enjoy spending your time outside the office?
A: I spend time playing with my dog (a toy Australian shepherd), regularly play golf, and also like traveling.

Q: Tell me about one of your mentors and how have they helped you.
A: I have had many great mentors at Haynes Boone, including David McCombs – one of the best attorneys I have worked with. I’m fortunate enough to work with David on various pre-litigation and litigation matters and to travel with him to visit clients and potential clients. He has set a high bar with his demeanor, ethics, and dedication to client service, and these are qualities I would like to emulate.